327 weeks ago
For some England fans, the 3,120- kilometer (1,939-mile) trek to a Ukrainian coal-mining hub for this month’s European soccer championship is a voyage too far.
“With two of our games in Donetsk, we’re virtually talking about going to a European tournament in Asia and there are no direct flights,” said Mark Perryman, a spokesman for London- based supporters. “Unsurprisingly, the numbers are very low.”
The reluctance of fans across Europe to travel to the former Soviet country’s eastern edge threatens Ukraine’s goal of as much as $1.5 billion in tourist revenue from Euro 2012 as the continent’s debt crisis imperils demand for its steel and grain exports. The final figure may be less than half of that target as supporters balk at transport and accommodation costs even after almost $14 billion of pre-tournament investment, Erste Group Bank AG (EBS) and Capital Economics predict.
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